Category: The Sea and Cake

The Sea and Cake – The Biz

ARTIST: The Sea and Cake          220px-Thebiz

TITLE: The Biz

YEAR RELEASED: 1995

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: None

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: None

LINEUP: Sam Prekop, Archer Prewitt, John McEntire, Eric Claridge

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The Chicago-area band continues its prolific exploration of jazzy indie rock sounds.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The jazzy parts of the first two Sea and Cake records were some of the best work they did, so in this third effort they lay back and see where things go, and they go into some nice grooves and sounds.

Evoking a quieter vibe than most of the decade’s artists, the Sea and Cake explore moods and sounds, creating some chill guitar parts and unobstrusive vocals that let the music shine through.

All of the musicians play off each other and at times it’s a jammy band thing, but with more jazz and less blues. It’s recommended for late nights with a bottle of wine and a nice tome.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: This was their third record in 12 months.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No 

GRADE: A-: Just allow it to spin it’s wonder over a few playings.

The Sea and Cake – Nassau

ARTIST: The Sea and Cake Nassau_album_cover
TITLE: Nassau
YEAR RELEASED: 1995
CHART ACTION: None
SINGLES: None
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Not really.
LINEUP: Sam Prekop, Archer Prewitt, John McEntire, Eric Claridge
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Jazzy indie rock band gets even more jazzy in their second album.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Again, it’s hard to imagine what the grunge-oriented indie rock base thought of the Sea and Cake after their second album. This one is even jazzier than their debut.

The biggest addition was how Prewitt’s piano came into fore on several songs. That added another dimension to the proceedings. Prekop’s vocals are usually just another instrument, but on a song like “Parasol” his quiet spoken-sung vocals and gentle backing by Prewitt create a relaxing mood and feeling.

Some of the jazzier moments don’t really work – at times they’re caught between being a jazzy indie band or an indie jazz band. Still, this is a fine sophomore effort.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: McEntire was active in Tortoise as well as the Sea and Cake. He played on five albums between the two groups from 1994-96.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: B+-: I don’t like this as much as the debut but still it’s a great record to chill to.

The Sea and Cake – The Sea and Cake

ARTIST: The Sea and Cake The_Sea_and_Cake_(The_Sea_and_Cake_album_-_cover_art)
TITLE: The Sea and Cake
YEAR RELEASED: 1994
CHART ACTION: None
SINGLES: None
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Again, only if you frequented indie record stores in 1994 or so.
LINEUP: Sam Prekop, Archer Prewitt, Eric Claridge, John McEntire plus producer Brad Wood
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Members of three Chicago-area bands come together to form a jazzy indie band and releases a mellow yet adventurous record totally against the grunge grain of the time.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Hey, an independent album released in 1994, must be grungy, right? Not. So. Much. The Sea and Cake fuse an indie rock sensibility with jazz influences, and the result on their debut is a wonderful, gentle album that was really out of step with the indie scene at the time.

The stars of this record for me are the fluid guitar lines from Prekop and Prewitt. The vocals are nice but really secondary to what’s going on with the guitar melody. For a new band, and from coming from two separate bands, Prekop and Prewitt play together like they have been in a combo for years.

As with any jazz, a few cuts ramble a little past their sell-by date, but all-in-all this is a great record to chill to, with or without Netflix!

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The name comes from a deliberate spoonerism from a Gastr del Sol song.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: A-: To be honest, in the 90’s I had one Sea and Cake album and I didn’t get it, but now I know why. I wanted grunge, not jazz. I’m older and wiser now, and this is great.